Like most other people, I don't like rejection. In fact, I fear it and that fear has held me back from doing quite a few things...from stepping out in faith like I know I should. It's something I struggle to conquer, so with shaky hands, I penned the following story and entered it in a writing contest. I waited on tenterhooks for the results to be announced, and alas...I didn't win. Still, I took something out of the experience: I took a positive step by doing something scary (to me) and I gave it a good effort (maybe not my best - but, I was pretty happy with what I did).
So, even though I didn't win, I'm more determined than ever to optimize the gifts and callings of God within me. A closed door doesn't signal the end of a dream. It could just mean that I need a change of direction, or that the time hasn't come...yet. But, it will. I know it will. While I wait, I will continue to learn, grow and hone my craft.
I've attached the story here for your reading pleasure (I hope) and I encourage us all to remain steadfast (that's my word for the year, btw) and press forward until we obtain the prize. Let us decide to be ruled by faith and not fear. Fear tells us "It won't work", while faith says "All things are possible." Which do you believe?
Heaven’s Whisper by Onyih Odunze
It was a cool December day and a light fog clung to the squat office building as we approached. A few visitors – early birds like us - walked in and out of the wide double doors, bundled in their puffy jackets and winter coats. It wasn’t really that cold – only in the sixties – but it was proper ‘sweater weather’ in Houston. Trembling slightly with a chill that had nothing to do with the weather, I grasped my husband’s hand as we walked slowly towards the elevators.
My nerves fluttered nervously as we pressed the button marked ‘3’. Luckily, it was still early so we had the elevator to ourselves. Lost in our separate thoughts, my husband and I rode in tension-soaked silence on our way to my OB/GYN appointment. As the elevator rumbled its way up, fear seized hold of me and I wished I could delay what would surely be a confirmation of my worst fears. Oblivious to my unspoken distress, the elevator journeyed on and when the ‘3’ button lighted up, the doors opened, leaving me no choice but to walk with leaden steps to the doctor’s office.
I completed the usual formalities and sat down to wait my turn. I squirmed lightly in my seat, anticipating yet dreading what was to come. I wanted to know, but I was afraid to know.
Father, please… I prayed silently and vaguely. Please, Lord, don’t let it be true. But somewhere deep inside, I knew. I just knew. I was in the middle of a miscarriage.
Finally, the agonizing wait ended and my name was called.
I didn’t smile like I usually did at the elderly nurse’s attempt to pronounce my complicated name. I simply nodded and followed her through the short hallway to the nurses’ station. I could feel my husband’s solid presence behind me but it gave me no comfort. I was locked in a private pain that no one else could understand, not unless they had experienced it. I answered Ms. Donna’s questions emotionlessly.
Yes. I did a home test about three weeks ago and it was positive.
The spotting started two days ago.
No, I hadn’t felt any severe pains yet.
When she finished going through the brief history of my pregnancy, she took my blood pressure and checked my weight. I surrendered to her ministrations wordlessly and when she finished, she walked us to the ultra-sound room. As though infected by our pensive mood, she was quiet and efficient – nothing like her usual ebullient self.
“Wait here. The technician will be with you shortly.”
“Thank you.” My husband spoke for the first time since we left home. His voice had a rusty quality to it, either from recent lack of use or from tears. I glanced at him but could see nothing in the dark room. What did it matter if he cried, anyway? I asked myself. I had shed enough tears for the both of us, and yet nothing had changed.
After a silent and tense ultrasound exam, we were finally ushered into the doctor’s office. Tears flowed unrestricted as he confirmed what I had already guessed. I had miscarried at seven weeks. A sob escaped my lips as I tried to deal with the emotions churning inside me. Even though the events of the past few days had brought me to the same conclusion, hope had lingered and I wasn’t prepared for the finality. It felt like the earth had moved under me and I clutched my husband as we made our way back to our car.
We drove home in near silence, each grieving for the baby that would never be. When we pulled into the garage, my husband helped me out of the car and into bed. I didn’t really need help, but I let him. I knew that he wanted to feel like he was doing something – anything – to help me. In truth, he felt as helpless as I did. Our baby was gone and there was nothing we could do about it.
Drained, I crawled into bed and cried myself to sleep. Just before I drifted off, I thought I heard a soft voice whisper to me. Weeping may endure for one night, but your joy will come.
I remembered that whisper exactly one year later as I gazed into the sleeping face of my newborn son.